Home > Tegan's Magic (The Ultimate Power #3)(4)

Tegan's Magic (The Ultimate Power #3)(4)
Author: L.H. Cosway

“I certainly have no intention of telling anyone who your dad is, Rita,” I tell her. “But the vampires aren’t going to think you’re an average witch after seeing you work powerful magic twice now. Plus, if you hadn’t noticed, Ethan has set his sights on you. He’s not being extra nice to you because he’s a friendly sort of guy.”

Rita snorts. “Of course I know that. I’m well aware that the blond Adonis wants to use me. The thing is, sometimes when it seems like one person is being used by another, it’s in fact the opposite way around. I’ll let him think he’s winning me over, because it could be useful to have an old vamp like him on my side.”

“Good strategy,” says Finn with praise.

I hold my tongue in frustration. When we decided to “make friends” with the vampires I never would have guessed so many subtle mind games would be played. I get up and go into the kitchen to make myself some tea. Once I’ve poured a cup I go and sit down at the table, where Ira is still seated and staring out the window into the dark garden. He definitely has the right idea; the solitary life has its advantages. Getting involved with people just leaves you broken and bruised. At least in my experience it does.

Ira glances at me serenely and then turns his attention back to Finn’s overgrown garden. A moment later Rita comes into the room and stands by the door.

“What’s your problem, Tegan? I can tell you’re annoyed about something,” she says, her arms crossed over her chest.

“I’m just tired,” I reply, “and I’m also sick of Ethan’s games and how all of the vampires hate me now. It’s not like I did something intentionally evil.”

Rita comes to sit by me, but as she does Ira suddenly turns around and begins growling low in his throat. “Calm down doggie. I’m not going to put any spells on you,” she says.

I glance at her questioningly.

She sighs. “He seems to have a problem with witches, probably because of the witch who put the curse on him. He’s not so bad with Alvie or Gabriel because they’re men, but with me and Mum he just growls and won’t let us get too close.”

“That’s odd. He doesn’t get defensive with me at all,” I tell her.

“Well, you aren’t exactly a traditional kind of witch, at least not yet. Plus, I think he’s used to you since you’ve been living here for a while.”

I take a sip of warm tea. “Yeah probably.” Then I do something unexpected. I reach across the table and place my hand on Ira’s bare arm. “Rita’s not going to harm you. She’s a good witch.”

Rita laughs. “Well, that’s debatable.”

Ira stares directly into my eyes, grunts, and then pulls his arm away. Rita, being the provocative mare that she is, drags her chair along the floor and pushes it right up next to Ira. His growling starts again, even louder this time. She puts her arm around his very broad shoulders and places a smacking kiss on his cheek. “Get used to me pooch, because I’m not going anywhere,” she tells him in a vaguely seductive voice. She squeezes his shoulders and then swiftly leaves the room to return to her trailer for the night.

“Goodnight, Tegan,” she calls, just before slamming shut the front door.

“‘Night, Rita,” I reply, picking up my tea and making my way to my room, leaving Ira to resume his solitary contemplations.

I wake up early the next morning. Not because I had planned on it, but because Finn begins pounding on the door at seven-thirty telling me to get up because we’re going sorcerer hunting today. In the bathroom I finger my short messy hair, noticing that it’s grown out a little bit. I haven’t been keeping up with my haircuts since coming back to Tribane. All the drama tends to take precedence. I clip it up haphazardly before brushing my teeth and washing my face.

I haven’t done my laundry yet this week and all of my comfy jeans are dirty, so I have to resort to wearing a knee length blue dress under my coat, with thick black tights underneath for warmth.

The seven of us stand out in Finn’s front garden in the cold, dull light of the morning. Finn has divided us up into three teams. Rita and Delilah are going to take a boat out to Ridley Island to have a look around and see if they can find any clues as to Theodore’s whereabouts, since it’s the location he once called home and he seems to be kind of attached to it. Gabriel and Alvie will suss out the estate that belongs to Michael Ridley, a warlock who is currently in league with Theodore. And that leaves me, Finn and Ira to pay a visit to my old place of work, Indigo, the shop that belongs to Marcel (also in league with Theodore and in fact his great, great, great etc grandson).

I get into the passenger seat of Finn’s car. He’s not using the DOH van today, since there’s only the three of us. Ira sits quietly in the back seat.

“I thought I’d bring him along to give us a bit more of a menacing air,” says Finn as he starts up the engine. “Marcel’s not exactly the bravest sort, so he shouldn’t try anything too threatening with Ira standing beside us.”

I glance at Ira in the overhead mirror. Finn must have taken him shopping for some clothes recently, because he’s now wearing garments that actually fit. Ira’s frame is larger than any man’s I’ve ever met before, even Ethan’s. I momentarily wonder why Finn is going out of his way to take care of the shapeshifter. Perhaps it’s out of respect for his old DOH superior, Noel, as Ira had been his friend back in the day. Or maybe it’s simply because of the advantage of having such a big, burly man at his beck and call.

Suddenly, Ira meets my eyes through the mirror, and there is so much wisdom in his gaze that I have to wonder if he really can’t talk or if he’s simply pretending to be mute so that people will underestimate him. It’s a good strategy, I suppose, having people think you’re not a threat when really you’re expertly planning their demise in your head. I quickly look away and focus my attention back on Finn.

“So what do you think our visit to Indigo is actually going to achieve? Marcel’s a stubborn old git, if I remember correctly. He’s hardly going to spit out Theodore’s location and master plan just because we come marching into his shop with a six foot-something shapeshifter at our side.”

Finn shakes his head. “That’s not exactly the goal. We’re not going to let on that we’re after Theodore. Jesus Christ, who is actually idiotic enough to let their enemies know they’re gunning for them in advance? You, little Miss, are going to demand that Marcel tells you a way of getting your dad back from the hell dimension. All the while I’ll scope the place out for clues as to what might be going on with the big bad sorcerer.”

“Oh, right.” I blush slightly, feeling stupid.

Finn laughs gently and smiles his charming smile. He reaches out and allows his fingers to glide across my cheek. “I like it when you blush. It makes you seem all innocent.”

I go even more red in the face when he moves his hand and trails a finger down the outside of my thigh, before giving my knee a squeeze. Even through the thick tights his touch sets off my nerve endings. He doesn’t move his hand from my knee as he continues driving. The strange thing is, neither do I.

I’m stuck in a moment of wondering what it would be like to be with Finn. He’s so warm and friendly, so teasing. So human. I shake myself out of these thoughts and look back at him, to find he’s now glancing at me with one eyebrow cocked.

“I thought you’d have clapped me upside the head by now for putting my hand on you,” he says, bemused.

I smirk and laugh. “I think you’d enjoy that far too much. Besides, letting you feel me up is worth seeing the look of confusion on your face.”

Finn fake scowls at me. “Two can play at that game,” he replies and then moves his hand from my knee to my inner thigh and works his way up under my dress. It takes all of my will power not to stop him. I feel like a teenager playing some dumb flirtatious game with the boy I fancy. The hard pressure of his hand sends tingles shooting through me. When he gets dangerously close to the top I breathe out shakily and grab his hand, effectively shoving it away from me.

“Aw, too much for you, was it Petal?” he asks happily.

“Yeah,” I reply deadpan, “you’re so completely irresistible, Finn.”

Even though my words are sarcastic, I can’t help admitting to myself that he kind of is irresistible in a way, with his roguish charm and sharp tongue.

“And don’t you forget it,” he says with a wink and a grin, just as we pull the car to a stop around the corner from Steward’s Street where Indigo is located.

When we near the entrance to the shop, I immediately notice the steady flow of customers going in and out. I know I didn’t work in the place for very long, but not in all the time I’d been there had I experienced such a large number of patrons. Finn places his hand on my lower back, ushering me inside. I’d have spent more time wondering about the affectionate gesture if I wasn’t so stunned to see how much Indigo has changed since I’d last been here.

The interior has undergone a major renovation. There are now three state of the art cash register stations instead of the old rickety one from before. It also seems like they’ve knocked down one of the back walls in order to make the space larger. The shelves are new shiny plastic ones, displaying a whole range of stock the shop never used to carry, such as herbal cosmetics and hair dyes.

The cash registers are being manned by two guys and one girl, none of whom I have ever seen before. Something hums inside of me. My magic informing me that these are members of the magical families, Girards and Ridleys most likely.

“Is your boss around?” Finn asks one of the guy workers.

He gives Finn a shrug and turns to serve his next customer. A second later a recognisable voice greets us.

“Well, well, to what do I owe this pleasure?”

Marcel steps out of a doorway at the back of the shop. There’s a smile on his face and a calculating gleam in his eye. I can feel Finn’s body stiffen beside me at the warlock’s approach.

“I think you’re finding this about as pleasurable as an injection up the posterior,” says Finn, casually crossing his arms over his chest. “Oh and by the way, I love what you’ve done with the place. It’s like McDonalds for hippies.”

Marcel gives him a broad smile. “I’ll take that as a compliment. And on the contrary, finding old friends such as yourselves grace my door is quite the gift.” His eyes slowly drift to me, and in their seemingly harmless depths I see my dad falling into a black, unfathomable hole.

“Hello Tegan,” Marcel greets me, with something of a cruel sparkle on his happy face. I enjoy watching that happiness swiftly dissolve when those sparkling eyes land on Ira, who’s standing just behind me.

“Ah,” Marcel goes on. “I see you’ve brought another – friend.”

Ira straightens up as I quickly glance back at him. His face is clean of any emotion as he peers down at Marcel. Recalling Finn’s instructions back in the car, I quickly confront the warlock about my father.

“This isn’t a social visit,” I say. “I want you to tell me how I can bring my dad back from wherever you and your buddies sent him.”

My tone is hard, as I think of the injustices Marcel has done to me. Stealing my blood, kidnapping my father. I clench my fists tight to keep from letting my anger and grief turn into violence. Violence never solves anything, I repeat in my head over and over.

Marcel reaches out as if to touch me on the cheek in sympathy, (I know, WTF?), however he rapidly withdraws his hand when Ira starts making this low, rumbling growl. Funny, he never growled when Finn had been touching me in the car earlier. He must really have a grudge against magical folk, just like Rita had said.

“Easy,” says Marcel, moving further away. “I mean the girl no harm.”

Ira’s growling ceases once Marcel has distanced himself enough.

“Tegan,” Marcel clears his throat, “your father is irretrievable. I suggest you grieve and move on.”

His heartless statement hits me right in the gut. I narrow my gaze at him, while at the same time the hole of despair that was created when I lost my dad to hell widens by another fraction.

“But he’s been sent to the same place Theodore had been. If Theodore could be retrieved then my dad can be too.” I sound like a desperate girl clutching at straws. Again, Marcel appears to look sympathetic. I want to punch the emotion right off his smug face.

“Your father is human, Theodore is not. If you try and pull a human out of a hell dimension they will always come back changed. There are no fifty-fifty chances with this. He would be corrupted, poisoned, certainly not the father you once knew.”

His awful words sink into my gut. I just can’t allow myself to believe that he’s right. I can’t accept that my dad is as good as dead.

Marcel turns to address Finn. “So, Mr Roe, I hear you’ve been making friends with a couple of exiled vampires.” He smacks his lips together in the pleasure of knowing he’s surprised Finn with what he’s said. Hell, throw away surprise, I’m outright shocked. How could Marcel know about the alliance we’ve made with Ethan and company?

“Who gave you that impression?” Finn asks. “A wrong impression, I’ll add. I don’t associate with vamps, exile or not.”

He’s got an excellent poker face, I’ll give him that. I feel like saying something to further deny Marcel’s accusatory statement, but I clamp my mouth shut. Sometimes protesting things just makes you look more guilty. Still, it can’t be good news that Marcel knows about our rag tag crew. Having Theodore on his side is clearly doing wonders for his position. In the back of my mind I momentarily ponder if Theodore is behind the radical change in Indigo’s décor. Then I laugh internally at the idea of him turning it into a franchise.

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